Variations in interpreting the Lebanese constitution are Hezbollah’s sharpest weapon to control the constitutional and political processes in Lebanon. Undoubtedly, there are different peculiarities and interpretations over some articles of the Constitution as is the case with any constitution in the world.
These variations could be seen when interpreting an article is tasked to a specific party, such as the Constitutional Council of France or the Constitutional Court of the United States of America. In Lebanon, the parliament is granted this right.
Despite all the controversy over the implementation of the constitution or its violation, the parliament was never called upon to resolve any constitutional dispute. The political and security influence in time of the Syrian tutelage in the past and the current Iranian tutelage became a decisive factor in imposing the interpretation wanted by the influential party.
This is what forcibly happened in the absence of the President of the Republic for a period of two years and five months, before the election of General Michel Aoun as president in the fall of 2016.
With the help of the President and his party, Hezbollah imposed the idea of limiting ministerial representation of each sect by the forces controlling it. Those powers alone would give legitimacy to the sect in taking the ministerial post, and the premise was that appointing any minister who doesn’t have this legitimacy means that the government loses confidence.
These are some examples of the many transgressions that have disrupted the constitution to make it appear as a weak document that can be bypassed or easy to exploit by the controlling party outside its institutions and through militant power.
Of course, the Lebanese constitution is not perfect, but it’s certain that those who control political life by illegitimate means are not qualified to write a constitution with minimum legal requirements or those related to the concept of the state and the unity of the people. Thus, the Lebanese constitution, which was agreed upon in Taif, fell into the hands of political parties, which rejoiced in violating it, and excelled in imposing the rules of governance and attributing them to their benefits.
The noxious guardian
It’s enough to say that no constitution in Lebanon or the world states the possibility of dual power; yet, here we are.The president of the republic, who is the commander-in-chief of the Lebanese Armed Forces, has no authority, even formally over the authority of Hezbollah’s weapons, which outweighs the influence of the state and its organs and became a competition for them without any legal status.
Hezbollah and Iran both want to impose these facts on the ground going against the state and its sovereignty in Lebanon. Through its security influence, Hezbollah seeks to make political parties accept this reality in preparation for making it a custom accepted among the Lebanese and to silence them about it for years and perhaps decades.
This Shiite ideological organization, Hezbollah, is aware that any transition from the state of inability to the state of effectiveness and presence of the state will be at the expense of its influence, and therefore it is taking sides with everything that would give it the conditions of military and security survival.Ali Al-Amin
It is no secret to any political observer in Lebanon how Hezbollah seeks to impose new customs in political life as it is trying to preserve its ideological identity with all its security and military independence along with organizational allegiance with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. At the same time, they are pretending to wear the national unity uniform by playing the role of the guardian of Lebanese political life. No government can be formed without Hezbollah’s permission, no election can be held and no constitutional issue discussed unless it is approved by Hezbollah and all agreements must be done under its conditions and demands. This is what Lebanon, with a violated constitution and laws, is going through. Yet, Hezbollah has succeeded in wearing a mask to disguise it, and to appear to the others only through its several political masks. Although some buy this and believe it, it’s exposed to most of the Lebanese people.
As mentioned in the beginning, Hezbollah is investing in the variations over the interpretation of the constitution, with the intention of not to resolve them but to widen them and to cause conflict and solidify it to make the state incapable. This incapability has been established since Iran decided to continue its existence as a military security organization in Lebanon through Hezbollah. The state’s weakness is the strategic objective that has been established by this party in Lebanon. Hezbollah’s internal role is based on protecting this weakness to justify its survival and influence and its control over the elements of the state without any liability.
The institutionalization of this helplessness begins with the idea that there is no government in Lebanon besides the government of all the forces represented in the Parliament, but its function here is not to participate in decision-making, because this inclusive government cannot be composed if Hezbollah is not the one that makes decision in it by ensuring its effective control over two third of it. Hezbollah can thus block any decision that doesn’t go along with its aspirations. In addition, thanks to its way of formation, the government is transformed into a mini-parliament. There is no parliamentary opposition or executive authority capable of acting in harmony between its components. This leads to the easy option of quotas and clientelism, which are blatant expressions of the state’s impotence.
Another expression of this helplessness is the ongoing quest to form a government without any real progress for over five months.
This Shiite ideological organization, Hezbollah, is aware that any transition from the state of inability to the state of effectiveness and presence of the state will be at the expense of its influence, and therefore it is taking sides with everything that would give it the conditions of military and security survival.
It has worked since the parliamentary elections to consolidate and strengthen the idea of deputies elected by their sects and has used the proportional system to penetrate the non-Shiite communities to be able to infiltrate them through its political masks, with the purpose of activating the policy of obstruction and exacerbating state impotence. The problem is that there is no way to convince the Lebanese people of the nature of Hezbollah’s unconstitutional and non-Lebanese presence that’s useless to Lebanon except via more destruction of the state – destruction whose purpose is not to cancel and eliminate the state but to maintain the latter’s existence in a way that only serves the purpose of being part of Iran’s regional project.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Ali Al-Amin is a journalist based in Lebanon and is the Editor of news site Janoubia.com.